Action Video Recorder Recommendation

I am planning to buy one right away. Which brand is best? GoPro? Contour? I haven't researched either yet. What accessories do I want?

TDeeble's picture

Good Either Way

I have read a lot about the Contour and GoPro. The newest version of the GoPro is suppose to have a much easier menu system than the last one. The fact that you can buy an LCD screen backpack for the Go Pro makes me like it a lot. In addition to the expanded battery backpack. The chest harness is a pretty cool attachment point too. There just seems to be a lot going for the GoPro. On the other hand the Contour+ has a really cool feature that allows you to see the terrain you are riding and the MPH plus altitude on the top right hand side of the screen. The Contours helmet mounts seem to not be as cumbersome looking as the GoPro but once its on there I don't know how much that will matter. I know Chris and Eric both have extensive use of theirs (though I'm not sure they have the latest versions) so their opinions probably carry more weight. Lastly there is the new Drift HD from Drift Innovations. I dont know a lot about it but it looks like it is another really good option. If it were me right now I would probably go with the GoPro Hero2.

eric's picture


Yeah, you need the full story from Chris.

I've been happy with my ContourHD, it's just the 720p model. The newer versions include GPS like Terry mentions and do 1080p. Also I think there's an app for your phone with the new Contour where you can actually pull up the camera view to help position and aim it etc. I like how sleek it mounts to helmet or bike or whatever. BUT, I know Chris said the video footage from his Contour isn't as good as his GoPro. I don't like the GoPro mounted on a helmet, just because it looks like a moon orbiting your head and all. I do really like the footage from that chest mount on the GoPro though... the angle is really really good, being able to see the handlebars and interaction there for more perspective rocks.

Chris's picture

I don't really have a preference…

I'm kidding, of course. I started with an original Oregon Scientific and it was nice for a first camera but I wouldn't recommend them to anyone. There are three issues with mounted cameras that you should take into consideration. I'll put them in the order of importance to me.

1) Stability of image: it doesn't matter how good the image quality is, the mount ability of the camera, or any of the other characteristics if the video makes you want to vomit because the camera shaking all over the place. A nice crisp clean image is pleasurable to watch and one that shows the results of all of the vibration is not. For this reason, the GoPro ranks higher than the Contour or any other camera I've seen. The image stabilization on these cameras are fabulous.

2) Video quality: if it's grainy or the colors are funky, it's no fun to watch. Both of the GoPro and Contour have very nice 1080p video capabilities. Both also can shoot at 60FPS, which is valuable if you want to create a deliberate slow motion video. However, it takes a little bit of know-how to pull off a true 60 FPS shot. I like the GoPro a little better in this category too.

3) Sleek Design: Hands down the Contour is better in this category. I don't mount my GoPro on my helmet because it's too massive for a race or a ride. However, this summer I will likely mount my GoPro's on my helmet for mountain bike rides just to get a better, more stable picture.

Below is an example that shows the difference between the cameras. I have adjusted the color on the Contour which is the only helmet mounted camera.

Chris's picture

More examples...

GoPro960: Bar Mounted

ContourHD1080P: Helmet Mounted (shaky)

Both: Rear facing is GoPro forward facing is Contour.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have two GoPro960's and one Contour HD. I am also buying one more (Yes, my 3rd) GoPro very soon. This will give me four mountable cameras.

m1mckinlay's picture

Four Mountable Cameras?

Toss out the Google-mobiles and hire Chris to bot your neighborhood. Better yet, Google needs to hire you and create a new "Trail View" feature! Something to think about...

(remember me when they actually do it).

harrismc's picture

Chris Contact info

Hey Chris I need to chat with you. Could you give me a call sometime. I need to talk some funky camera bike set up stuff.


Went with the GoPro HD Hero2

Just ordered the Outdoor version from Amazon with a 32 GB Class 10 SD card and Battery bacpac module.

Thanks for all the advice. In the end, the GoPro had more going for it in my view...

1. Reviews claimed it was more durable.
2. Included accessories. Includes several mounting options as well as waterproof cases. I'm thinking about using this to analyze my swimming technique.
3. Has cool backpack options. I ordered the battery backpack. They are releasing another option soon that will allow remote control of the camera via Wi-Fi using a smartphone or computer or to stream live footage over the web.

My only disappointment was the absence of a mounting option for dogs. :)
I am dying to record "A day in the life of..." for my puppy.

m1mckinlay's picture


Dan, I'm looking forward to the footage!

Chris's picture


I may have something that will assist you in getting your dog footage. K-EDGE makes a mount called the K-9,... sorry, couldn't resist.